Me new test loop

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Me new test loop

Postby europa » Thu Mar 15, 2007 1:46 pm

Just got back from a ride on the Europa (now a fixie remember). I took her over a 12km loop I used to do in the early days, not so often in more recent times as I tend to go for longer rides.

Hereshe is on bikely:D

It's a fun wee run. Nice drop off from home - deceptively steep actually though it looks flat in the car and it's easy to find yourself running very quickly without realising it. The final ride home is a bugga if you've just had a hard ride.

The climb in the middle is, for some reason, a real sod. Not excessively steep or long but it's certainly one where you go over the top to find yourself gasping and reaching for the drink bottle (then gagging because you can't drink and gasp at the same top). In the early days, when I was on the Europa with gears (and had no fitness to speak off), I used to struggle over that climb, so I wasn't looking forward to it today with the Europa as a fixie. Yes, it was fun but standing and pumping the pedals took me over it easier than those early days.

So, how did I go today with a fixie compared to runs in the past with the Europa with gears (ten thereof), the Sow's Ear (in all its muddled incarnations) and the Black Beast (me Trek520)?
Well, there are three fastest times within a minute - two on the Black Beast and today's :D Today wasn't the fastest but the fastest was set with me on the Black Beast and my son pushing (he got home 5 mins before me).

Today's run:
Ave speed - 25.2 km/hr
Max speed - 48 km/hr achieved with a cadence of 140 :shock: - this was in the last leg when all I wanted to do was rest which you can't do on a fixie. Rather than head down, bum up, go like blazes, it was sit up, use the brakes to keep it sensible ... and still go like blazes.

Ave cad 73 - again, the tyranny of fixed gear so as you hit an uphill run, all you can do is mash.
Max cad of 140 as stated (yes, I tend to bounce on the seat at them revs so my technique does need some work)

Time of 29 minutes during which I burned 826 calories ... so those of you with HRMs are wondering what me poor old ticker was doing :shock:
Ave HR 157
Max HR 185
ten minutes spent above 165 - no wonder I felt a trifle weary when I got home (remember, I'm 50 and overweight 107 kgs :roll: ).

And that my friends, is one good reason to ride a fixie - the experience is far more intense than a bike with gears.

Richard

(a beer and chocky donut in front of tele sounds good about now - pity I only have the tele :( )
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by BNA » Thu Mar 15, 2007 2:18 pm

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Postby LuckyPierre » Thu Mar 15, 2007 2:18 pm

That's a good ride, Richard. Say "Hello" to my Mum for me - she's the one driving a RAV4 with 'CAM' number plates - when you see her! :wink:
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Postby pugsly » Thu Mar 15, 2007 2:34 pm

Gawd - sounds like death on a stick! You did that for fun? :shock: :)
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Postby europa » Thu Mar 15, 2007 2:39 pm

pugsly wrote:Gawd - sounds like death on a stick! You did that for fun? :shock: :)


Um, no. Not sure that I'm not that mad yet. Hang on, I'll just ask the voices :twisted:

Richard
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Postby pugsly » Thu Mar 15, 2007 2:47 pm

I've seen a bit of discussion on fixies both in the LBS and on various forums.
Can you give a bit more info on what it actually is?

My understanding (right or wrong it may be) is that there is only one gear (how big/small are the front/back cogs - do you change them depending on the sort of ride you intend to do) and that there is no freewheeling - that is, you are always pedalling (unless you are stationary).

Have I got it right :?:

I think I had one of these sort of bikes when I was a little tacker - around 5 or 6 - it's at the centre of one of my strongest childhood memories - involving coming off at speed and lots of gravel rash. :(

So now, the question - apart from the 'intenseness' of it - why? Or is that like asking a mountain climber the same question? I'm not questioning your sanity :twisted: I'm genuinely curious.
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Postby europa » Thu Mar 15, 2007 3:17 pm

You've got it right Pugsly.

One gear only. That gear is fixed so you can not coast - while them wheels are turning, so are your legs.

And therein lies the first attraction - simplicity. The most complicated parts of a fixie are the brakes and some rider don't even use them (they are seriously nuts :D ).

Basically, you have to choose your gearing before hand. Typically, you do not change the rear very often - you tend to work out what ratios work best for you by trial and error (maybe use a geared bike to get some idea) and stick with it. On a flat road or a velodrome, this is relatively easy but once hills get in the way, you have a whole new set of problems.

And therein lies the second attraction - whereas you need a skill set to efficiently use gears, on a fixie you need a completely different skill set to effectively handle varying conditions. For example, my standing to climb skills are poor because on the Trek520, I just go down a gear or five and spin. On the fixie, I have to be able to stand and climb efficiently because I ain't got no choice dammit.

Because you have a simple, straight drive train, with no complicated changes of direction in the chain and no derailleurs to suck energy, a fixie (for a given gear) is more efficient than a geared bike. However, because you are more likely to be geared incorrectly for the terrain rather than correctly, this is probably a moot point. However, this efficiency of drivetrain gives you more feel on the road and and better control over traction.

Therein lies the third attraction - a skillful rider has far more control over his bike because he can not only apply forwards pressure to the pedals, he can apply backwards pressure as well.

Because of the straight, direct chain line and only two gears, your equiptment will last longer - chains last much longer, cogs and chainwheels last longer. Because you can slow your bike with your feet (and stop and skid if you have the skill), your brakes last longer.

Therein lies the fourth attraction.

The fifth attraction - due to the above mentioned lack of choice in gears and your body being forced to compensate, the ride is more physically intense. If you are restricted in the amount of time you have to train, a fixie is a good option for at least some of your rides.

A well built fixie, with its single gear, straight chainline, lack of mechanical clutter, can be an elegant beast - the sixth attraction. My Europa is slowly working her way in that direction.

A seventh attraction is that people will come to you and say - 'why the hell would you ride that?'. Believe me, it's fun, especially as I am learning to love the ride.

An eighth attraction is the opportunity to experience a completely different side to riding. There is far more to riding than sitting in a pack and just going somewhere fast - there's sitting alone and going somewhere fast :D Seriously, the different skill set attracts a lot of riders to fixies, just because it's something else to learn.

In my case, a ninth attraction was the purchase of my Trek520 - this made my beloved Europa redundant but the fixie conversion has not only added a new weapon to my armoury, it's given the old girl a new life.

Richard
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Postby MichaelB » Thu Mar 15, 2007 4:07 pm

Well done, looks like a route of many ups and downs.

Sadly most of the rides in my neck of the woods are pretty flat, or big hills, but that'll do me.

A cadence of 140 is pumpin !!! I read the link that someone posted before of the guy that set the WR for speed with a cadence of 289 :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: I would love to see a video of that.

BTW, listened to your advice and am making a move on a CS200cad - only 6 months old and trying to snaffle it for $160 !!

Cheers

Michael B
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Postby Bnej » Thu Mar 15, 2007 4:13 pm

Because of the straight, direct chain line and only two gears, your equiptment will last longer - chains last much longer, cogs and chainwheels last longer


Cogs and chainwheels will actually last significantly shorter. The cogs are under higher stress because of the force you have to put on them to climb hills, and the wear is ALL on one pair of gears instead of being spread out over 10 or more. PLUS you are then putting more stress on whenever you slow down.

Hence why Surly offers steel chainrings for fixed gear bikes.

Surly wrote: Hey, REPLACE YOUR PARTS OFTEN! You will have to. Let’s say the average dude spends most of their time in 5 or 6 different gears (out of 27, sheesh!) on any given multi-speed bike ride. You spend all your time in one gear. And you’re wrenching the snot out of those drivetrain parts in a way they weren’t designed for. Your parts will last 1/5 or 1/6th as long as the average dudes’. Ever wonder why you can’t get more than 3 months out of a freewheel before its starts skipping on you? First off, they aren’t sealed properly, contaminants get into the pawls and impede the motion necessary to engage the teeth. Furthermore, the freewheel gets twisted and warped under all of your torque, making it more difficult for the pawls inside the freewheel to find their teeth on a regular, reliable basis. Pick up a beat, old freewheel, hold the center and spin the outside - you will see what I mean. BMX freewheels and even mountain-bike cassette bodies were never designed for the sort of repetitive, high-torque abuse that one-speeding wreaks on drivetrain parts. Until someone makes a bomb-proof freewheel or cassette hub (King? $$$), get used to replacing these parts often
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Postby europa » Fri Mar 16, 2007 1:41 pm

Actually mate, you're missing the point that Surly are making. They are talking about FREEWHEELS, not fixed cogs. There is nothing in a fixed cog to wear as they are one piece of metal. If you take the precaution of buying dura-ace like I did (also because it was all that was available :roll: ), you have a well pressed unit with a wide thread base (which cheapies often don't) made out of good quality steel.

Horses for courses :D

Richard
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Postby MichaelB » Fri Mar 16, 2007 2:06 pm

I guess the other thing to highlight is that whilst a lot of torque can be applied (no offence to Richard here), he aint a Brad McGee or Cadell Evans etc.

Even if the forces applied are large, the key thing to reduce chain and sprocket wear is the fact that the applied forces are all in a single plane, and not as a results of chain rings in two different planes.

I think that quality parts like Richard has used, plus a lot of common sense will see them last quite a while.

Cheers

Michael B
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Postby 531db » Fri Mar 16, 2007 4:38 pm

Ah, more good fixie stuff, Europa has seen the light !- what he said - welcome brother!

It's hard to know/talk about fixies until you have ridden one enough to know what you are talking about - my advice is "just do it!".'

I have to refute a few things others have posted though.

Bnej wrote:

"Cogs and chainwheels will actually last significantly shorter. The cogs are under higher stress because of the force you have to put on them to climb hills, and the wear is ALL on one pair of gears instead of being spread out over 10 or more. PLUS you are then putting more stress on whenever you slow down."

Chainrings last a lot longer because with one correct chainline, the teeth are not subjected to the forces that a derailleur bike places both in terms of sideways deflection as the chain moves over rear cogs, but also wear to a chain climbing/scrapping over multiple chainrings.

Fixed rear cogs in my experience last longer than a cassette. Here's why: Fixed cogs are usually 1/8", sometimes 3/32" and machined to that size. Cassette cogs are especialy with 9/10 speeds only a notional 3/32'', in fact they are quite thin, furthermore, the teeth shaping to allegedly enhance shifting means less metal to wear out. I have several fixie rear cogs with over 5000 km on them, and they still are 'good'.

Chains last longer as the pins/rollers/sideplates are not subjected to anything like the same twisting stresses as a derailleur bike.

If you use brakes, then you are not adding any significant stress to a fixie chain. Not that linear stress is a particular problem (forwards or backwards) anyway, chains are at their strongest in that regard. Sideways deflection is bad......

Chain wear? - well I get at least 2500, usually 3000 plus km out of my TAYA brand 1/8" chains ($9.88 at Big W), and similar out of the KMC brand 3/32" chains ($11.88 at Big W). Not exactly worried about wear/cost then! (NB: throw away the joining links and use a chainbreaker though).

A couple of sites to checkout:

www.fixedgeargallery.com

www.fyxamatosis.com
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